Chris says farewell

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National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox.
Camera IconNational Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

Chris Wilcox will be surely missed as one of the world’s leading analyst and commentators on the global wool industry.

In announcing his next month’s retirement from the role as National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director, Mr Wilcox said he was confident about the future of the Australian wool industry.

“Particularly Merino wool, because of the demand for the active, leisure and lounge wear sectors,” he said. “These sectors will provide a long-term boost to raw wool demand and will help fill the gap caused by the decline in suits around the world.”

Mr Wilcox said the industry faces the challenge of rising interest and demand for transparency and traceability.

“I believe the industry can meet these challenges but will need to take steps to ensure success,” he said.

“The industry is well placed to meet the growing trend towards environmental and animal welfare issues, with the exception of the vexed issue of mulesing.”

Mr Wilcox said some downstream customers and retail brands appeared to equate animal welfare entirely with surgical mulesing.

“I welcome the initiative by WoolProducers Australia with their ‘Trust in Australian Wool’ initiative,” he said. “It will expand the topic of the of the animal welfare and environmental standards under which Australian wool is produced beyond the single issue of mulesing.”

Mr Wilcox said on the environmental and sustainability issues, the Australian wool industry needed to work with the wool growing industries of other countries through the International Wool Textile Organisation to meet head-on the spurious claims made by synthetic fibre competitors.

“They are trying to capture regulators, notably in Europe,” he said.

Mr Wilcox said there was more upside potential than downside potential for Merino wool prices.

“I think there will still be the ups and downs in prices that we have experienced over the past 20 years or more,” he said.

Mr Wilcox began his career in the wool industry in 1992 at the second version of the Australian Wool Corporation in the economics and marketing reporting section.

“In my time with the levy-funded and related organisations, including the AWC, AWRAP, IWS and The Woolmark Company, I ran the China office of AWC in Shanghai for six months in 1994, a highlight,” he said.

“After returning to Australia, I set up the Trade Policy Unit for AWRAP before taking over as chief economist for The Woolmark Company.”

Mr Wilcox joined NCWSBA in 2008 and ran his own consulting company, Poimena Analysis.

“I am a globally recognised authority in analysing the world wool market and have given presentations around the world,” he said.

Mr Wilcox was a graduate from La Trobe University, with a bachelor of agricultural science and a masters of agriculture science, economics.

He has been a widely recognised public speaker on the global wool industry, having given over 200 presentations at conferences and meetings around the world including China, US, UK, Italy France, Uruguay and Germany.

Mr Wilcox has prepared monthly, quarterly, bi-annual and annual economic and analysis bulletins, articles and reports for a range of wool and livestock industry clients in Australia, Europe an China.

His recent projects included a strategic analysis of the market and opportunities for the wool industry in NSW and, by extension, of the industry in Australia.

A second project was as part of a team investigating the traceability of wool from farm to ship-side in the event of an outbreak of an emergency animal disease, such as foot and mouth disease.

“I have decided to retire and step back from various roles in the wool industry for mainly family reasons.

“My wife, Kathy and I have reached our 60s and we would like to travel and explore the great outdoors now rather than leave it too late.”

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